After time spent at home raising a family, Joyce Solomon was ready to re-enter the workforce and had little experience to put on her resume. For 30 years, she has volunteered with La Leche League providing information and support to women on breastfeeding. She wanted to expand her skills in other areas and decided to visit the Bernard Betel Centre to explore our volunteer opportunities. When asked if she would like to facilitate a program to promote memory retention and cognitive skills, she knew, “it was right up her alley” and she would enjoy the experience. Eight years later, the Memory Boosters program continues under her skilled leadership.
Once a week, the group gathers to engage in memory games, discussions, numerical problems and visuals to challenge their recollection abilities and exercise their brains. These activities help to stimulate the brain to provide a trigger to evoke a memory. Her ability to provide a safe and warm environment where our members feel comfortable and respected is one of her greatest strengths. Aware of the challenges that our seniors face, she plans her program to respond to each individual’s needs. The ability to recall a memory may be limited for various reasons and may include challenges with sight, speech or physical abilities or based on one’s experiences according to their country of origin, culture, language or religion. Joyce is skilled at identifying potential challenges to ensure her program is inclusive for everyone.
The Memory Boosters program has continued over several years thanks to Joyce’s ability to provide a program that is flexible and responds to the changing needs of our members. She speaks fondly about the people she has met over the years. She knows for some, “just showing up” is a victory.
Joyce is energetic, spirited and outgoing and eagerly shares her compassion and understanding with others. What began as an opportunity to gain work experience for her resume became much more. “It’s giving back, because giving back enriches in two ways. It enriches not only the people on the receiving end of your efforts, it enriches the giver also.”